For many Christian believers, the signs are pointing to the return of Jesus. Events are unfolding quickly of biblical nature. Others argue that these things have happened all throughout history.
One of the first things that is mentioned is that Israel would again become a nation, and that the generation who saw this happen would also see the Son of Man. Israel became a nation in 1948, and reclaimed Jerusalem in 1967. Scholars estimate that in the bible a generation refers to a range between 70 and 100 years. Hebrew had also not been spoken as a whole for many years until this time, and people from all over the world returned to their homeland.
The book of Revelations describes what will happen during the last days. The first events to take place are called the seven seals and are as follows:
- The white horse, rise of the antichrist
- Hunger, financial collapse
- Death from war, famine, and other calamities
- The seven trumpets
The seventh seal is made up of the seven trumpets which include:
- Hail and fire
- Similar to the second, but affects lakes and rivers
- Moon and sun become dark
- Locusts and plagues
- 1/3 of humanity killed
- Calls the seven angels to release the seven bowls.
The seven bowls are God's wrath:
- Painful sores
- Everything in the sea dies
- Rivers turn to blood
- Extreme heat
- Antichrist army gathers
- Great earthquake and hail
There are different beliefs that surround the end times. There are three main teachings that are held by churches today. Most Christians believe in the rapture, but all do not agree on when it takes place. Some hold the pre-trib belief, meaning that Christians will be raptured and taken to heaven before the tribulation period. Some believe in mid-trib, that during the middle of tribulations right before the antichrist comes to power that Christians will be raptured. And others hold the post-trib belief, that we will suffer through all of tribulations and judgements before Christ returns for us. Regardless of which belief you hold, the point is that as a believer you should be ready to go at anytime. We are told in scripture that he will return as a thief in the night, and that no one knows the hour.
There has also been many devastating storms, earthquakes, and famine. Christians in other countries face persecution daily, and these are all events spoken of in Revelation. Another current issue that could very well be biblical is the looming war with Israel and Iran. Some believe this is the set up for the battle of Armageddon. Others are quick to point fingers and place the blame on Israel, resenting the fact that they are God's chosen people. The bible says that there will be international turmoil involving Israel.
One sign is that knowledge would grow quickly. Transportation has changed dramatically over the past hundred years, and with the internet and satellite the whole world can be reached. Jesus said he will not return until every person on earth has had a chance to hear the gospel and come to him.
Another thing that's mentioned is that in the last days, what's wrong will become right, and what's right will become wrong (Isaiah 5:20). From a christian perspective this has definitely become the 'norm'. Most television shows and music today are not acceptable. God has been removed from just about everything, and people are so lost and just don't seem to care anymore. It's all about having rights instead of asking is it morally right? If a Christian speaks up about his beliefs he is slammed by the world. A prime example of this is the reaction to Kirk Cameron's statement on marriage. It's okay for the people to bash him for his views, yet he isn't entitled to his own beliefs? There is no regard for the law or morals, and we're killing our own by the thousands every day with abortions. Other signs include greedy and false prophets, mockery of the times, and a falling away from the church. I'm not downing all evangelicals by no means, but there are plenty out there that appear to be in it for the money or simply preach a 'feel good' message to keep people in the church. Many people blow off the signs, saying that things have always happened and nothing's new. And the falling away, many have turned their back on God or think they have plenty of time to 'get right'.
Many believe that a red calve would be required for the purification process. Until May 1997 there had not been a red heifer born for 2,000 years. Another was born in Israel in March 2002.
There will also be wars and rumors of wars. Wikipedia breaks down the frequency of wars for the past 500 years as the following:
15th century - 29 wars
16th century - 59 wars
17th century - 75 wars
18th century - 69 wars
19th century - 294 wars
20th century - 278 wars
We have definitely had a large increase in wars during the 19th and 20th centuries. It is the same for famines and earthquakes with a magnitude of 7.0 and up. In the 15th century there were 6 famines and 2 earthquakes. In the 20th century there were 44 famines and 123 earthquakes.
The world sits ready to pounce on anyone who speaks out with scripture. But we were warned this would happen. Matthew 24:33 tells us that when we see these things, we should know the end is very near, right at the door.